Thoughts from last night’s Canada-USA Gold Medal game

January 6th, 2010 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

Team USA- 6, Team Canada- 5, OT

I hate to say “told you so”… but told you so! Well, sort of. The majority of us (three out of five) predicted Team USA to win. If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure we all predicted this gold medal game to be epic. First and foremost:

Congratulations to Team USA!

They were the better team on New Years eve and last night. Despite a gritty comeback effort to send this game to overtime, it wasn’t quite enough for the Canadians. This was easily the best game they played all tournament. That was the thing that had bothered me most leading up to this game. Both Canadians and Americans (especially the Americans) can be proud of this game and the amazing rivalry they’ve built over the last few games/years. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed such dramatic and exciting hockey played.

There’s two major thoughts I have about Team USA’s gold medal win.

  • Two posts – Most Canadians will humbly congratulate Team USA for the win but will quickly point to the two third-period posts Canada hit. Yes, the score and game could have been much different if one or both of those shots had gone in. In saying that, Jordan Eberle’s game tying goal was pretty fluke-lucky too. An American player had no stick and Eberle’s shot hit another US stick and part of Jack Campbell’s arm before crossing the goal line. When you consider the mini events that took place for that to happen, Canada was pretty lucky to get into overtime.
  • US’ win is a good thing – I think US winning this tournament is a great thing for hockey. This US team had 10 players from non-traditional hockey markets (Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, etc…). If hockey (and the NHL) want to continue to grow globally, America has to get engaged and what better way to start that than with this American team winning the 2010 World Junior Championship. It won’t end there either. It’s clear the United States development program is working and will continue to produce great hockey players. The World Junior tournament is sometimes seen as Canada’s tournament to lose. Canada’s dethroning will help build better rivalries which can only help new fans get into this great game.

Before signing off, here’s a few random thoughts from the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.

  • Derek Stepan’s goal (the fifth US goal) was very reminiscent to that Marc-Andre Fleury moment in Helsinki, Finland in the 2004 World Junior gold medal game (also against Team USA). And yes, I had this written before seeing it on TSN. Seriously, who wasn’t thinking this when it happened?
  • What kind of player is Nazem Kadri? Is he a pure goal scorer, a power forward, or something else? I’m not sure yet. While his skill is apparent – he’s a great hockey player despite being a Toronto Maple Leaf – I’m still unclear where or what his niche is.
  • According to TSN, Saskatchewan sold $105,000 worth of beer at this tournament (I’m assuming beer at the games/events). At $10 a beer, that’s …. **brain explodes**
  • The Americans are shot blocking masters. The Ottawa Senators could probably use any one of those American skaters in nets right now. They’d be better than Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire.
  • Alex Pietrangelo’s composure all tournament was amazing. I loved his decision making when holding the puck in critical moments on the blue line, in the neutral zone, etc… Another great St. Louis Blues prospect.
  • I feel like I never saw enough of Brandon Kozun all tournament long. I’ll remember him most for his shootout winning goal in the New Years eve CAN-US game and the post he hit in the third period of the gold medal game. Beyond that, I still wanted to see more of Kozun.
  • Jordan Eberle is the all time goal scoring leader in Canadian World Junior hockey history. In my opinion, his two years in the World Junior Championship stand as the best Canadian performance (in this tournament) ever.

Stay classy, Team USA. Congrats on your second World Junior Championship gold medal.

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14 comments

  1. Hell of a game, and great synopsis. I look forward to next year in Buffalo to see if the Americans can win again, I could see a good number playing for them again next year.

    As for the “Fleury-esque” goal moments after it happened I tweeted – “Nice play Fleury….f’n amazing.”

    Next year boys, next year.

    Justin
    @hockeycardshow

  2. Tambland says:

    This kind of thing is great for hockey. Plus, it’s a well known fact that a country can’t win the World Juniors and Olympic Gold in the same year. That’s just plain old science. You can look it up if you want, but I already did.

  3. Mantooth says:

    What a great game! I’d like to know how pumped Oilers fans are, knowing that Eberle is theirs. Such a clutch player!!

  4. MasterOfPuppets says:

    Eberle might see action in the Show soon, given the Oil’s current woes. That guy is stunning. I wasn’t blown away by Taylor Hall, but you can see he is a diamond in the rough.

    Goaltending was the achilles heel. Allen did not provide the big money save when it was needed. At least 3 US goals were stoppable and should have been. Not to take anything away from them, they played great and were ‘johnny on the spot’ to create the odd man rushes they did and execute them to perfection.

    Shout out to fellow Newf – Luke Adam. Way to go, buddy! Power forward in the making,

    McMillan, Pietrangelo and Hamonic played extremely well too. Hamonic was missed last night.

    Downside – Cowen was lacklustre in this tourney. Hopefully its just a minor setback …

    Overall, the main reason we were beat – piss poor competition in the Round Robin (except the US game) and goaltending.

    Next year put us in a pool with Sweden, Russia and Finland. Get sharp on a real whetstone.

  5. Burgundy says:

    @ Mantooth – I imagine Oilers fans are pumped. Also, don’t forget Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson is theirs as well. And given how the year is going for them, a top 5 pick is almost certain. Depending on where they finish and the draft lottery, they could potentially be looking at the opportunity to draft Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, or Cam Fowler to name a few. It’s rough for Oilers fans now, but things will get a lot better and soon.

    @ MOP – I also don’t have the same man-crush for Hall that I do for Eberle. But he’s still a great player. Amazing speed and I really liked the way he battled in the corners. Not sure what the issue was between the coach and Cowen, but JC did struggle big time. I agree with you that McMillan, Pietrangelo, and Hamonic were great for Canada. Luke Adam had a solid gold medal game too.

    @ Tambland – We’ll see about the Olympics. Should be good hockey, but I have no expectations for Canada.

    @ Justin – Thanks for the kind words. We should definitely get down to Buffalo for a game or two next year. Sounds like we’ll have a very new team in the WJC’s next year. I believe only 5 players can return and I’m pretty sure guys like Hall (and maybe Seguin) won’t be there.

  6. Tambland says:

    @Burgundy- I will attempt to discover some sort of secret algorithm that equates World Junior standings to Olympic success. I may inadvertently solve world hunger, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

  7. Sens19 says:

    Great summary as usual.
    Def an entertaining game that would’ve ended differently if it werent for a few mistakes. In all fairness, the whole time it was 3-3 Canada had the edge, even with Pieteranglo out. It came down to keeping a shaky Allen in net for too long. Oh well these guys are still kids, no need to scrutinize them too much. They gave it their all and made us proud in the process.

    Also I feel bad for calling them kids when most of them are my age or a few months younger lol

  8. Burgundy says:

    @ Sens19 – Thanks!! Your feedback (and everyone elses) has been great lately. Last night’s game was outstanding. I can’t stop thinking about it. All of Canada can be proud of that effort. I feel for Allen a bit too. He’s a good goalie and had a bad game. And yeah, they are kids and make mistakes but that’s what’s so fun about this tournament.

    @ Tambland – You are a warrior of … uhhh… well, you are a warrior. I think. Good luck in your mission.

  9. Fantana says:

    Nice recap. Here are a few of the things I’ve been thinking about since the tournament ended last night:
    - Why don’t St. Louis bring Pieterangelo up to the big league’s? It’s not like they couldn’t use the help!

    - Toronto’s depth charts suddenly look pretty good with guys like Kadri and D’Amigo who will challenge for roster spots next year

    - Be very afraid of the Islanders. Laugh at them while you can, because they are the Eastern Conference version of the L.A. Kings. Man, they’re going to be awesome in a few years with Hamonic, de Haan, Matt Donovan and Kirill Petrov.

    - Canada’s whole “checking” line was really impressive last night and were very effective throughout the tournament. Luc Adam is definitely my pick for the most improved forward for Canada and Caron played a great tournament too.

    - Jason Zucker from the U.S. can fly! He barely rated inside the top 30 draft eligible players back in November, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t taken in the first round this summer.

    - The New York Rangers had 3 players on the American roster this year (Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Ryan Bourque). The future looks bright for the Rangers.

    - The IIHF must implement some type of mercy-rule because that Bronze medal game, among several others, was painful to watch at times.

    - Switzerland has at least 4 players that will get drafted this summer: Nino Neiderreiter, Benjamin Conz, Patrick Geering and Mauro Jorg. Also, somebody has to take a chance on Roberts Bukarts of Latvia – he scored 6 goals for Latvia!

    - A road trip to Buffalo is definitely in order for next year! Who’s in?

  10. Sarah says:

    What a game, huh? Insane. Just insane. As an American, I couldn’t be more proud of those boys. As a Caps fan, I couldn’t be more excited for Carlson, and I can’t wait to see him up with a permanent spot on the roster.

    Canada played a hell of a game, much better than the NYE showdown. This isn’t to take anything away from that fact, but I honestly don’t think they would’ve even gotten to OT if that goalie interference wasn’t called on Palmieri. Some of the players were looking like they were trying to play the role of hero too much. That Eberle…holy crap is he clutch. Good for him on getting his team back in it.

    I would’ve preferred Carlson getting MVP (call it American bias, but whatever) because he was clutch to win it all, but if he didn’t get it, I suppose Eberle is fine with me because of all the times he dug Canada out of a hole.

    Speaking of Carlson, I didn’t realize it until I rewatched it a few times, but that GWG was a no look shot. He was looking to pass to Stepan and shot instead. While you have your Eberle man-crush, I just have my stupid-girl crush on Carlson. (:

    Rough night for goalies, huh? Both of them pulled. Great job on both coaches part for making that decision. Despite his pulling, I hope people know that Allen is better than Lee (obviously?). Allen had a rough night, but he’ll be fine in the long run.

    I think it was great that Taylor Hall didn’t go pointless like the last game against the US. If I remember correctly, he had a goal and two assists. He’s going to be a great NHL player…who’s probably going to have to “save” a franchise. (If he’s picked by Carolina, wouldn’t a Carlson/Hall matchup six times a year be kind of fantastic?)

    If I’m not mistaken, we have nine guys who are eligible for next year (well, I’m not sure about Bourque since he turns 20 on 1/3/91), including Jack Campbell and Zucker. Let me just say that I’m excited for Buffalo.

    Last thing…It’s strange for me watching this tournament. I’m as old as Campbell and Zucker and to see them on such a huge stage at 17 is just incredible. When I was younger, I thought people in these huge tournaments would always be older than me. In the 2014 Olympics, there could be 1992 babies playing. I’m starting to feel so old.

    No, wait…now last thing. IIHF should get rid of that whole shootout in a gold medal game nonsense. If it had come down to that ending for Canada/USA, I would’ve been pissed despite the final outcome. That’s no way to end a winner takes all game.

  11. Sarah says:

    Wow. I didn’t realize how long that was. Sorry about my babbling.

  12. Burgundy says:

    Hey Sarah – No problem! Thanks for leaving an essay!! (I kid, of course. We love it).

    I agree, the Palmieri goalie interference penalty was pretty weak. Perhaps a make-up call on the 12 minute Pietrangelo call. Regardless, Eberle clearly pushed Palmieri into the Lee.

    As much as I like Carlson, I’d have given the MVP to Derek Stepan… assuming we’re excluding Eberle from this debate. Stepan was their leader and strongest player all tournament.

    At the rate the Oilers are going at, they might just overtake Carolina as the worst team in the league and the runaway leader in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes.

    I believe it’s 9 eligible US players for 2011, but your are right, some of those guys will probably be in the NHL. Isn’t it creepy how much Ryan Bourque looks like his dad, Ray? Freaks me out – especially during the National Anthem celebrations last night.

    My old moment came this summer (I’m 25). All my life I’d grown up looking up to these NHL stars. Then all of a sudden, I realized I was 5 years older than most of the Pittsburgh Penguins and that most of their team wasn’t old enough to legally drink in Canada after they’d won the Stanley Cup. And I thought I was young.

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